You would think that with all the money Apple pours into the iPad, they could make the speaker sound decent. Instead, the rear-facing abomination needs friends like the Boast Sound Reflector ($15) to help it out. The Boast is made of polypropylene homopoly, hugs your iPad using neodymium magnets, and redirects the sound from the rear/side of your iPad to the front — where it belongs.
Old school looks meet modern tech inside the Lasonic Bluetooth Boombox ($160). Resembling the shoulder-mounted boomboxes of yore, this system offers Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, a 3.5mm input, a USB input, and an SD card reader, dual 15W full-range drivers, a real-time clock display, EQ, full-function remote, an alarm, and, of course, an AM/FM radio. Vintage hip/hop mixtape/playlist not included.
When most companies celebrate their 50th anniversary, they revisit one of their iconic designs — not enter a whole new market. The Marshall Hanwell Speaker ($TBA) is the company's first loudspeaker designed for home use. It packs dual long-throw woofers and hi-fi tweeters to deliver the company's signature sound, as well as a handsome wood and vinyl cabinet that recalls the company's amps, an analog power switch, volume, bass, and treble controls, and a single 3.5mm input.
Plenty of wireless speakers can charge up your device — by using a dock or a cord. The TDK Wireless Charging Speaker ($400) takes a different approach by building a Qi-compatible inductive charging pad into the top. Other features include Bluetooth 2.1 wireless audio streaming, a built-in rechargeable battery, four full-range left/right speakers, a ported subwoofer, a 3.5mm input for non-wireless connections, an IPX3-compliant weatherized design, and a USB charging port for those times when you just feel like plugging something in.
Speakers don't have to be old to look cool — but it definitely doesn't hurt. Made from reused discarded loudspeakers, every Tombox (€190-€250; roughly $230-$300) is unique, offering a built-in rechargeable battery that can last for up to two weeks, an oversized volume knob, a single 3.5mm cable and plug for hooking up your audio source, and retro styling that trumps any modern boombox. Also available in oversized plus models.